Impressions: Bangai-O Spirits
Treasure's cult hit blasts its way onto the DS, with homing missiles, whacky characters and plenty of fruit.
Unless you own a Dreamcast or Nintendo 64, you missed out on the glory that is Bangai-O, Treasure's beloved and insane shooter that lets you pilot a mech and annihilate hordes of enemies. But fear not, dear reader, for D3 and Treasure collaborated to bring the follow-up, Bangai-O Spirits to the Nintendo DS this fall, and it retains all of the crazy, over the top action, coupled with a nifty editing feature that'll blow your mind.
Bangai-O is one of those games that doesn't make sense. You just go with it. You've got kids piloting mechs, hundreds of missiles flying in all directions and enemies that drop fruit when destroyed. Again, it's bizarre, but the nonsensical shenanigans are cool because the game's a blast. Using the d-pad, you maneuver your tiny mech through more than 160 levels of mayhem, unleashing bounce missiles, homing missiles, napalm missiles, break missiles, direct missiles (in case you missed something...MISSILES) at numerous baddies, causing megaton explosions. Things begin easy at first, as you breeze through the opening levels in a matter of minutes, but you'll soon want to chuck your DS at the nearest wall, since enemy numbers grow and their accuracy improves. Oftentimes, you'll be dead in just a few seconds.
In addition to the robust single player campaign, there's multiplayer for up to four gamers. That said, we've yet to experience it, so we're unsure how it works. D3 made mention of co-op which would be sweet, since some of the game's bosses (including a huge alien) look difficult, but we'd also like to see frantic deathmatching.
In addition to that, Bangai-O has a nifty level editor that lets you create your own missions or modify any of the existing environments. All you do is access this mode, grab a stylus and design, erasing pieces of levels and adding new ones.
While cool, that's not the game's most intriguing feature. What makes Bangai-O unique is its Sound Load Technology that enables you to upload and download created levels by converting the data into a sound file on your DS. Want someone else's level? Just place your opened DS near your computer's speakers and play the audio clip. Not near a computer? Invite over your friends, power on your DS systems and share the file that way. Even better, it's not limited to just created levels. You can also swap high scores, replays and even game footage. That's sweet technology and something we'd like to see in other games.
Bangai-O Spirits is yet another cool looking and quirky game that sets the DS apart from the PSP, and we can't wait to join a hopefully dedicated online community of gamers eager to share their masterpieces. If making levels doesn't suit you, however, you can always enjoy the aforementioned single and multiplayer modes, which should satisfy your need to cause massive damage on a grand scale. Fruit collection, optional.